IRB at the University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi has its own Institutional Review Board (IRB), which is made up of faculty here on campus from a number of different disciplines as well as members of the community. The IRB evaluates studies to make sure that they meet the ethical standards laid out in The Belmont Report. All researchers here on campus (whether faculty members or students) who are conducting a study with human subjects must receive IRB approval before commencing their primary research. The first step is to fill out an application to begin the IRB process, and, for our purposes within this course, we will look at 3 applications.

Screening/Abbreviated Exempt Application

This form is found on the University’s IRB site under Protocol Forms. As stated on the IRB site, this is the most common form used on this campus. Usually, these are studies that use surveys (especially if anonymous) or educational observations (e.g. observing a class). In short, the study must present a “minimal risk” to human subjects. For more information, review the PowerPoint file on the IRB Guidance page.

Full IRB Application to Conduct Research with Human Subjects

Also found on the University’s IRB site under Protocol Forms, the full IRB application is for studies that could present more than a “minimal risk” to human subjects. Types of studies that would need a full IRB application, for example, would be a medical study (e.g., collecting blood samples, testing drugs, etc.), a study involving a “vulnerable” population (e.g., prisoners), or a study that uses a form of deception (e.g., using actors, lying to subjects, etc.). The use of this application is rare at this university. (Within WRIT 250, you will not conduct a study that needs this type of application.)

Class Project Forms

For WRIT 250, we will be using the forms found under Class Project Forms on the IRB site. You will fill out the Student Class Project Application and submit it to your instructor, who will act as the principal reviewer of your study and will determine whether it meets IRB standards for a class project. Your instructor will then fill out and submit the Request for Class Project Waiver Application for IRB approval. You must receive approval from your instructor before conducting any part of your primary research study. If you have any issues, questions, or concerns about your study, please contact your instructor.